We have just returned from a glorious Bank Holiday weekend in Emsworth with Alex’s family – and my parents, who popped over for lunch on Sunday!
Alex’s mother had a beautiful box of plums which needed using up so, on Monday, we decided to make them into one of my most favourite cakes in the entire world – Plum Cake.
This cake is one of the most amazingly squidgy cakes I have ever eaten.
This is for three reasons; firstly, it’s cooked as an upside-down cake (which I love doing – it makes such a yummy texture); secondly, it’s stuffed with ripe plums, which of course make the sponge very moist; and thirdly, if that isn’t enough, we have replaced a quarter of the flour with ground almonds for even more gooiness.
In short, this cake only just holds together, and it’s perfect for a Sunday lunchtime pudding.
(Serves 6-8 . Serve with a good dollop of cream!)
What you need:
220 grams butter
220 grams caster sugar
150 grams plain white flour, sifted
100 grams ground almonds
4 medium eggs
60 ml milk
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of good quality Vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of baking powder
A sprinkle of salt
Icing sugar, for sifting on top.
For the caramelised fruit:
Roughly 800 grams of plums
150g light brown soft sugar
A 20-inch cake tin, well greased with butter (this cake does not rise a huge amount, so it doesn’t have to be any deeper than usual)
A food processor or large mixing bowl, wooden spoon and whisk.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
First, stone your plums. This is a cake baked for taste, not looks – it’s squidgy and messy and wonderfully homely and not neat at all!
Don’t worry about trying to slice the plums evenly, or you will start to squeeze out their lovely moisture – simply cut them into three lengthways, and remove the stone from the middle section, retaining the flesh.
Once all done, set aside. They will look something like this:
Now, you are going to make your caramel! Melt the butter very slowly in a pan on a low heat, and stir it until it is frothy and completely melted.
Then, carefully add the sugar a little at a time, stirring constantly, until completely combined. Don’t stop stirring or the caramel will separate (if this happens, don’t panic, just take it off the heat and stir frantically!)
When the mixture is a lovely brown colour and a smooth consistency, take it off the heat and pour it into the greased cake tin.
Now, place your pieces of plums on top of the caramel.
Remember that the cake will be turned upside-down, so this will be the top – so place them with their skins underneath so that they will show through.
Again, don’t worry too much about neatness – this is a cake made for eating, not for looking at!
Next you are going to make the body of the cake.
Alex’s mother is blessed with one of the Holy Grails of the kitchen – an unspeakably sexy KitchenAid mixer, so I used this, but I promise that this recipe turns out fine if you are doing it by hand, as this is what I do normally!
Cream together the butter and sugar, and then in a separate bowl, combine the eggs and the milk, and give them a good old whisk with a fork.
Next, start beating the eggs into your butter and sugar mixture, very slowly, a little bit at a time.
Make sure it is all combined and try not to stop beating or the mixture will go a little lump (do not panic if this happens, either – it’ll still taste fine, I promise)
Next, add the baking powder, salt, cinnamon and vanilla extract, and give it a good whisk for a minute or so to get lots of lovely air in!
Now, carefully and gently fold in the flour and ground almonds, trying to keep the air in the mixture as much as possible.
When thoroughly combined, pour your mixture gently over your plums into the cake tin, and pop the whole thing onto a baking tray.
Place this in the oven – the mixture can be left at this point if you like, but make sure to place the tin on something, as if you are using a springform tin the caramel can leak out a bit (this happened to me at the weekend!)
Leave it in the oven for about 40 minutes – after 40, take it out and check it. It is done when the cake has turned a nice golden colour and a skewer comes out clean when poked through the middle.
If it needs it, give it up to an extra 10 minutes, but don’t overdo it or you’ll lose all that lovely squidgyness!
Once your cake is out of the oven, leave it to rest for five minutes. Now for the fun part!
Very carefully run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it, and open the catch if your tin is a springform. Then, (and you may wish to ask a friend for help here, if there is one available!) place your serving plate on top of the tin and, holding on tightly, turn the whole thing upside down!
Now, place it on a surface and gently lift the tin up to reveal your lovely gooey cake underneath. Give it a quick tidy up, if it needs it, sprinkle lightly with icing sugar and serve, ideally warm, with a great big dollop of cream!
See you tomorrow!
Do you have any questions you’d like answered? Ever wondered how to make a bed properly, how to cook easy bread from scratch, how to make the perfect cake, how to get tough stains out easily and quickly? My friends, I am rubbish at many things but due to a strange addiction to Mrs Beeton in my early teens and a very accomplished group of friends and family, I have access to a fairly sizeable amount of domestic knowledge. Test me – send me your domestic conundrums and we will see what we can do!